5-minute Coconut Almond Fudge

Quick Coconut Almond Fudge
Over dinner, a good friend was lamenting her systematic eating of leftover Christmas fudge over the three weeks following the holidays – a piece or two every night. I laughed to myself imagining fudge, or anything sweet for that matter, would even last a week, let alone three, in my house. And then my mind faded from the conversation at hand and I began to be preoccupied with fudge. My internal conversation went something like this:

“Mmm…Fudge…Why didn’t I make fudge for Christmas?!…I haven’t made fudge for a while…I have an awesome fudge recipe…that’s easy too…super chocolaty…never gritty…why am I not making fudge this very minute?!…fudge…I need it…yummm…”

Needless to say, I pulled my super quick 5-minute fudge recipe out soon after that. I convinced myself I was performing a pantry-cleaning service by using up leftover coconut, almonds and almond paste in the process. Anything for a good cause.

As expected,  it didn’t last the week.


5-minute Coconut Almond Fudge

If coconut and almond aren’t your thing, you can substitute your favorite mix-ins in place of the coconut, almonds and almond paste.

Ingredients

  • 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 12 oz. good quality bittersweet chocolate (at least 60% cocoa)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut, toasted
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/3 cup almond paste, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons flaky sea salt such as Maldon (optional)

Directions

  1. Line an 8×8” pan with aluminum foil and coat with cooking spray.
  2. In a microwave, heat sweetened condensed milk and chocolate on high for 1 minute. Stir to combine. Heat an additional 30 seconds if needed until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Stir in vanilla, coconut, almonds and almond paste.
  3. Pour fudge into pan and smooth. Sprinkle with sea salt (optional). Cool in refrigerator for 1 hour.
  4. Use aluminum foil to remove fudge from pan, cut into 1” squares. Store in an airtight container. Fudge does not need to be refrigerated.

Advertisements

Ginger Hazelnut Millionaire Bars

Millionaire's Shortbread
Inspired by one of my favorite recipes for Ginger Crunch Slices, these rich bars combine buttery shortbread, spicy ginger-cardamom caramel, creamy bittersweet ganache and sweet-salty hazelnut “croquant.”

I planned on giving them to the new neighbors across the street, but after eating two, decided to keep this batch all for myself.


Ginger Hazelnut Millionaire Bars

More like an exotic candy than a cookie, the combination of butter, heady spices, bittersweet chocolate and hazelnuts create quite a flavor bomb.

Ingredients

    Shortbread
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Caramel
  • 7 Tablespoon butter
  • 4 teaspoons ginger
  • 1 teaspoons cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons corn syrup
  • Hazelnut Croquant
  • 6 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted
  • pinch salt
  • Ganache
  • 4.5 oz. bittersweet chocolate
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter

Directions

    Shortbread:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 inch square pan with aluminum foil and butter the foil.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour and salt and beat until the batter just starts to clump together. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan, lightly prick the shortbread with the tines of a fork, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until pale golden in color. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool while you make the caramel.
  3. Caramel:
  4. In a 1-quart saucepan over medium heat, combine caramel ingredients, bring to boil and pour over shortbread. Cool.
  5. Hazelnut Croquant:
  6. While caramel is cooling, heat sugar and water in a small nonstick skillet over high heat, swirling, until sugar dissolves. Reduce to a simmer, and cook, swirling occasionally, until amber, about 4 minutes. Add hazelnuts and stir for 30 seconds to coat.
  7. Pour mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or a nonstick baking mat, and immediately spread nuts on sheet and sprinkle with salt. Let cool. Coarsely chop.
  8. Ganache:
  9. Once caramel is cool, place bittersweet chocolate, heavy whipping cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and whisk until completely melted and combined. Pour over caramel and smooth. Sprinkle with hazelnut croquant. Let set for an hour or two, or refrigerate until set. Remove from pan using foil, cut into 16 fingers.

Chocolate Motherload Cookies

Rich chocolate sandwich cookies on a plate with milk

Are you a Chocoholic – a craver of all things chocolate? Come into my lair, darling…my aspiration for this recipe is your personal entrapment.  If my baking raison d’être is luring you into my den of culinary debauchery, guaranteeing your enslavement, what would your cocoa kryptonite look like?  My money is on these – thick layers of creamy bittersweet ganache sandwiched between soft jumbo double-chocolate cookies.

In fact, I may have overdone it – a pinch too much.  Neither my 14-year old niece, my sister-in-law, nor I could eat an entire cookie.  One of these cookies wouldn’t just enslave you, it would incapacitate you.  I recommend you go with the standard size option listed below.

P.S.  After naming these, I discovered that “Motherload Cookies” is also the name of a strain of marijuana.  Rather than change the name, I decided to keep it –  you’ll need to be stoned to eat an entire jumbo size cookie.


Chocolate Motherload Cookies

  • Servings: 14 jumbo or 28 standard cookies
  • Print
The “jumbo” cookies are too much, even for those addicted to chocolate. I recommend the standard size if you want to remain upright after eating one. This recipe was adapted from The Sugar Cube bakery’s Triple-Threat Chocolate Cookies.

Ingredients

  • 32 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips, divided (YIKES!)
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 Tablespoons flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream

Directions

  1. Place 12 oz. chocolate chips and butter in a microwave safe bowl and microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, until completely melted (about 90 seconds). Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, espresso powder, and vanilla. In another small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Stir egg mixture into melted chocolate until fully incorporated. Then add flour mixture, stirring until combined. Stir in 8 oz. of chocolate chips and toasted walnuts. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 60 minutes.
  3. Make ganache by placing the remaining 12 oz. of chocolate chips and heavy whipping cream in a microwave safe bowl and microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, until completely melted (60-90 seconds). Cover and refrigerate until spreadable consistency, about 90 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets will Silicone or parchment paper. Scoop dough onto sheets, placed about 1” apart (2 Tablespoons dough for jumbo, 1 Tablespoon for standard size cookies). With the bottom of a glass or similar, press dough to flatten into even ½” thick rounds. Bake until cookies no longer look wet, but they are still soft ( about 12 minutes for jumbo and 10 minutes for standard size). Cool cookies on sheets then transfer to racks.
  5. Generously spread flat side of half the cookies with ganache and top with remaining cookies. Cookies filled with ganache will keep, covered, at room temperature for two days. More than two days, store filled cookies in refrigerator, bring to room temperature before eating. Pour yourself a tall glass of ice-cold milk and enjoy.

5 Ingredient Chocolate Walnut Cookies

5 Ingredient Chocolate Walnut CookiesYou can’t forge a new path without stepping in a different direction.

Following my own advice, I took a dozen steps in various directions today. Time will tell if I’ve begun a new path or if I’m merely walking in circles.

One of the drawbacks of culinary school is my ability to conceive and whip up a batch of freshly baked cookies in just minutes as a treat.These rich, not-too-sweet morsels will satisfy any chocolate craving.  My taste buds cheer, my hips sigh…

5 Ingredient Chocolate Cookies

1 c. Confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
½ c. Cocoa powder (unsweetened)
2 Egg whites
1 t. Vanilla
½ c. Chopped walnuts
Flaky sea salt -like Maldon (optional)

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover a sheet pan with Silpat or parchment paper. Combine confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder and set aside. Beat egg whites into stiff peaks. Slowly add dry ingredients. Incorporate vanilla. Batter will have a consistency similar to melted chocolate. Add walnuts. Place batter in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to slightly stiffen dough. Drop by small spoonfuls onto sheet pan. Lightly sprinkle with salt (if using). Bake for 8-10 minutes until tops are set and no longer wet looking.Slightly cool, remove from pan and cool completely. Dust with additional powdered sugar, if desired.

Please, Stare at Me Ucomfortably

Chocolate Cherry Bars

Chocolate Cherry Salted Caramel Squares

I should have stayed home and played with the kittens. The night would have been more satisfying. But, instead of staying put, I shaved my legs, whitened my teeth, and switched glasses for contacts – all for another dud of a date.

Isn’t it the rule on a first date that each person is mutually responsible for maintaining the conversation? Instead, I sat with someone who answered my questions willingly, but only asked one question after fielding ten of mine. For me, the gift of gab does not come easily on a first meeting, yet I was solely responsible for the mind-numbing conversation (can I even call it a conversation?). Otherwise, we would have found ourselves blinking, mute, with nothing to break the tedium. He divulged the intricacies of his family’s various residences, his kid’s ages and hobbies, where he’s traveled, and what his younger brother likes, does and where he currently lives. Two questions were asked of me in kind.

The effort to keep the conversation moving was beyond my skills. At one point, towards the end of the lackluster night, he remarked that I appeared ‘distracted.’ I’m afraid he caught me daydreaming about my escape.

Next (again)…

Chocolate Cherry Salted Caramel Squares (because I deserve it!)

150 gr.  butter (softened)
50 gr.    sugar
25 gr.    brown sugar
½ t.      salt
½ t.      vanilla
1          egg yolk
185 gr.  All- purpose flour

227 g.  Salted Caramel Sauce **
170 gr.  Tart Dried Cherries
Cherry Juice or Cranberry Juice
57 gr.    sliced almonds
85 gr.   dark chocolate, chopped

Make Shortbread Crust
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 8×8 baking pan with two layers aluminum foil with an overhang to help remove the cookies. Grease foil with cooking spray. Cream butter and sugars to form a paste (not until pale and fluffy). Add salt and vanilla and combine. Add egg yolk and combine. Scrape down as needed. Add flour and mix until dough just comes together. Do not over-mix or too much gluten will form and base will be tough. Press into bottom of baking pan and just slightly up the side (to stop filling from oozing). Bake for 15 minutes, or until slightly golden around the edges.

Make Topping
Cover dried cherries with juice and heat in the microwave for 1 minute. Let rest 5 minutes to soften cherries. Drain juice and roughly chop cherries. Pour salted caramel over baked crust. Do not allow caramel to overflow down the sides of the pan or you will have difficulty removing the cookies. Sprinkle softened and chopped cherries over caramel. Sprinkle almonds over cherries and return cookies to oven. Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes until crust is light brown, caramel is bubbling, and almonds are slightly toasted.   Remove from oven and sprinkle with chopped chocolate.

Rest cookies on counter for 10-15 minutes to allow chocolate to melt and then cool completely (I put my pan in the refrigerator for 30 minutes). Remove cookies from pan using foil. Cut into 16 squares.

** While store-bought salted caramel sauce will do in a pinch, David Lebovitz’s Salted Butter Caramel Sauce is worth it. His recipe makes 1.5 cups, more than you need. I usually eat the remainder straight from the pan.